A tragic example of the impact of the Trump administration's indiscriminate crackdown on undocumented immigrants has emerged after an Iowa high school student was brutally murdered — just three weeks after he was deported back to Mexico.
Manuel Antonio Cano-Pacheco, oldest of four siblings, would have graduated high school last month in Des Moines.
But that didn't happen as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported him to a place he had left at age of 3.
His mother told the Des Moines Register Cano-Pacheco was one of the recipients of the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created to protect those who had been brought to the United States illegally as children.
However, ever since President Donald Trump scrapped the program that protected almost 800,000 young men and women from deportation, many of them were left with their fates to be decided at the hands of Congress.
Unfortunately, Manuel’s DACA renewal didn’t come through on time and when the immigration officials stopped him for speeding, things went downhill for the teenage student.
“Based on his criminal convictions, his DACA status was terminated making him amenable to deportation,” ICE spokesperson Shawn Neudauer said in a statement to The Hill.
According to an excerpt from the statement from Neudauer, the 19-year-old requested to be voluntarily deported as it would allow him to leave with his visa and also leave a possibility of him visiting U.S. in the future.
Finally, on April 24, Cano-Pacheco was deported to Zacatecas, Mexico under an ICE escort at the border in Laredo, Texas.
Once in Mexico, the 19-year-old went to get food with an acquaintance of his cousin's, who was reportedly known to the killers. Sadly, both of them met their tragic end at the hands of the murderers who slit their throats.
"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Cano-Pacheco school friend, Juan Verduzco.
A small memorial was arranged for the teen in Des Moines' Trinity Las Americas church where Verduzo described him as a person who was always “smiling and upbeat” and never harbored any ill intentions for anyone.
According to the 19-year-old’s friend and family, he had a passion for car mechanics and was pursuing his dreamat Des Moines' Central Campus. He even had a scholarship to a college in Chicago for mechanics.
"I kind of don't believe it still,” Verduzco said of his friend’s death. “It still hasn't hit me... I don't understand."
Cano-Pacheco has also left behind a 1-year-old son.
The northwestern Mexican state of Zacatecas, which was Cano-Pacheco’s family home, has become a deadly state in recent times, especially for young people.
Last year, bodies of 14 people were ditched in a mass grave there.
However, what’s even more horrifying is the fact these notorious gangs especially target deportees in certain border areas. In many cases, they hold them captors until their U.S. relatives pay some sort of ransom.
According to Mexico’s immigration service, the U.S. deported more than “31,000 Mexicans through two of the most dangerous crossing points.”
One cannot help but think how things could have been different for the 19-year-old if only he wasn’t kicked out of the country that was the only home he had known since childhood. It won’t be wrong to blame the Trump administration who threw a boy with dreams, family and future into a land unfortunately plagued with drug cartels and violence.
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton